07-09-2015

Research and innovation system for a new Catalan Republic

On February 21 2015, a workshop about  the roadmap for the future of research in the new Catalan Republic was held at the Institute of Catalan Studies. The conference was attended by about 200 researchers and thirty speakers. The most representative ideas drawn from this  seminar are the following:

SCIENTIFIC POLICY

  • A country that gives priority to science. This needs to be made visible on the highest level through a ministry for science/universities/research/innovation. A stable, generalized commitment to science.
  • The creation of a policy of research projects funding, based on criteria of competitiveness and excellence. Internationalization needs to be encouraged and in synch with Europe. Transparency and accountability.
  • A policy that facilitates the whole of the value chain for research and development, that promotes interaction between research and industry, and that serves as the motor for a new national economic model based on knowledge.
  • Regardless of changes in government, the structures that support the research sector need to provide stability.

LEGISLATION

  • Freedom of research, promotion of research, development and innovation. All need to be included in the future Constitution of the Catalan Republic.
  • A tax policy that favors investment in research.
  • Laws on patronage and entrepreneurship.

FINANCING RESEARCH

  • Revise the percentage of spending dedicated to research and development, marking 2% as a minimum; attention to who provides these funds (public/private ratio). Favor private coinvestment.
  • Funding for research structures based on objectives, with accountability. Encourage participation in European competitive projects.
  • Ensure that budgets are adhered to.

STRUCTURE AND STRUCTURES OF THE SYSTEM

  • Maintain what works while encouraging the sizing of institutions and a strategic plan for infrastructures.
  • Continue to base the system around university campuses while achieving greater openness, dimensioning among institutions and geographical balance.
  • International/shared structures with greater coordination and interaction; a network-based system in order to avoid duplicity.
  • Creation of a Catalan agency for research, with independent entities for the management and control of research.

GOVERNANCE

  • Flexibility throughout the system, especially in university governance. A flexible system that incorporates accountability and ex-post evaluation. In providing greater flexibility, the objective will also be to encourage knowledge transfer.
  • Encourage action from the bottom up.
  • Simplify and optimize the management and use of resources.
  • External evaluation is very important.

HUMAN RESOURCES

  • Contract personnel through open, transparent processes. Encourage flexibility and mobility in dedication, mobility within the system and collaboration with industry. Fit resources to the industrial and productive system. Avoid endogamous organizations and encourage the reduction of bureaucracy.
  •  Analyze technical and scientific career (aspects like duration, evaluation, incentives).

INNOVATION AND TRANSFER TO SOCIETY

  • Support for collaboration between industry, research centers, universities and technological centers.
  • Support for research with industrial applications and the establishment of bridges between basic and applied research (translational research).
  • Institutional support (structural facilities, reduction of administrative difficulties).
  • Public and private investment, facilities for funding and legislation that encourages it (tax policies/incentives, law on entrepreneurship).
  • Technology transfer offices/companies with autonomy and flexibility, within the research centers themselves but shared in advanced phases (collective portfolio of patents).